A Reason to our Rhyme


Recently a job seeker had a bad experience while applying for a position supported by Accolo and posted a comment on Susan Ireland’s Blog. Here is the comment and my response is below.

Her Comment: Click here to see the whole string.

“I just completed an application for an Executive Assistant position using Accolo and I found the process very demeaning, in particular, the last written question: “Write the e-mail your boss is going to send out to the company announcing your hire as his EA.” I support c-level executives , and I have never had to write my announcement e-mail. Who came up with that question? If it was written by my potential manager, I don’t think I’d want to work for him. I showed your application process (the multiple choice and written sections) to the other c-level EA’s at my company, and no one said they would even bother applying – and not because of the job description, but because of the ridiculous questions that had to be answered. The 1st round 2nd round interview process is an excellent concept, but please think more carefully about the questions you ask the candidates.”

My Response

Thank you for your message. It’s disappointing to hear that the questions did not provide you with an opportunity to shine. While that was the intent, it was clearly not your experience.

The questions are developed with the following in mind: What is a marker for talent that would differentiate those who are a better fit from those who are not?

The reason behind the question about the email announcement was to see a demonstration of:

a. general writing skills

b. executive communication ability

c. tone, attitude and style

In this case, the executive may want someone who will be responding to others on her behalf. Because of this, asking for a sample email with a defined purpose is a request nicely aligned to what may be required in the job itself.

The last thing Accolo or its clients want to do is to be demeaning. We are pushing against a horrible recruiting environment where over 94% of the people who apply to jobs are not getting a fair shot or hearing back about the status of their application. “We” are a group of people who are committed to putting a little sanity back into the process. It’s clear that we have a way to go.

To that end, what questions do you think would be appropriate markers for talent for an EA job? We would be delighted to hear your thoughts about how to make the EA questions more effective. Please feel free to contact me directly at jyounger@accolo.com


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